Proposal valued retailer at £790M.
British retailer Woolworths Group plc has rejected a bid from private equity firm Apax Partners.
Woolworths says in a statement that Apax made an indicative proposal of 50p-55p per share, valuing the company at up to £790 million ($1.46 billion). The offer was subject to pre-conditions, including access to Woolworths' financial and trading information.
Woolworths' stock closed up 1.6% at 48.75p after the announcement on Tuesday (Feb. 8); the high end of Apex' offer represents a 15% premium.
In its statement, Woolworths said that although its board had carefully considered the proposal, it concluded that the range indicated did not provide "acceptable value or certainty to justify entering into detailed discussions" with Apex.
Woolworths has long been a leading player in British music retail. In 2003, the 800-plus-store chain accounted for 11.2% of album sales and 29.5% of singles sales in the United Kingdom, according to figures published by the British Phonographic Industry.
The retailer confirmed Apex's initial approach on Jan. 31, a move that led to a 21% gain in the company's stock price that day.
Apex has yet to comment on whether it will return with a higher offer.